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Health-related programs, the Honors College and student housing are all on the docket for investment from Eastern Michigan University beginning later this year.

The Board of Regents approved a $8.9 million capital budget last week, which includes earmarking $2.8 million for academic facility upgrades, mostly for additional renovations to the Rackham Building, which houses EMU's Physician Assistant Program and other health and human services programs. More than $1 million is budgeted to continue to grow space for the Honors College program, which had its largest class (500) this year, and Wise Hall will close for a year at the end of the semester for a $2 million renovation to improve its student housing facilities.

Geoff Larcom, Executive Director of Media Relations for Eastern Michigan University, explains that the university is always working toward aligning its buildings and facilities with the needs of the students, and that includes reinvesting in student housing. He says the health-related programs in Rackham, for example, have experienced a good deal of growth alongside health-related fields in general.

This helps EMU "align its academic programs with high-job growth, which health care fields obviously are," he says.

EMU boasts a faculty who has a strong relationship with students and a science complex that teaches students job skills for high-demand STEM fields, Larcom says, “so it’s very important to have a marquee facility where students can work comfortably in labs and interact.”

"(This) ongoing investment continues the direction of emphasis on student and academic facilities — the center of the university’s mission," Larcom says.

Renovations are budgeted for the 2015-16 fiscal year but preparations may start as early as the end of the current semester. Smaller-ticket items include security upgrades, improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, additional Automated External Defibrillators, and classroom and facility enhancements.

Source: Geoff Larcom, Executive Director of Media Relations for Eastern Michigan University
Writer: Kristin Lukowski

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